Being in the Sun

This is an edition of The Wonder Reader, a newsletter in which our editors recommend a set of stories to spark your curiosity and fill you with delight. Sign up here to get it every Saturday morning.

Walking on the beach on the Fourth of July, I witnessed America the Sunburned. Reddened beachgoers strolled with ice cream or hot dogs; it would have been a lovely sight if not for the secondhand pain I was feeling.

On first glance, the path to healthy sun exposure seems simple: wear sunscreen and limit your time under the sun’s rays. But figuring out your personal relationship with the sun is a little more complicated. For one thing, public-health guidelines haven’t been totally up front with Americans about the benefits of moderate exposure. And U.S. consumers don’t have access to some of the best sunscreens. Today’s newsletter explores what happens when we spend time in the sun.

On the Sun

Against Sunscreen Absolutism

By Rowan Jacobsen

Moderate sun exposure can be good for you. Why won’t American experts acknowledge that?

Read the article.

You’re Not Allowed to Have the Best Sunscreens in the World

By Amanda Mull

Newer, better UV-blocking agents have been in use in other countries for years. Why can’t we have them here?

Read the article.

The Problem Sunscreen Poses for Dark Skin

By Lola Fadulu

Certain ingredients are pushing people of color away from good skin care.

Read the article.

Still Curious?

  • Please don’t read at the beach: A case for going against the grain
  • Free sunscreen: Most Americans do not understand SPF ratings or how sunscreen is supposed to work. But they do care about “antiaging” effects, James Hamblin wrote in 2015.

Other Diversions


Trees lining a pathway
Courtesy of SC, 69, South Burlington, Vermont

I recently asked readers to share a photo of something that sparks their sense of awe in the world. “I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve photographed this driveway in Kinderhook, New York. It never ceases to evoke a sense of infinite mystery,” SC, 69, from South Burlington, Vermont, writes.

I’ll continue to feature your responses in the coming weeks. If you’d like to share, reply to this email with a photo and a short description so we can share your wonder with fellow readers in a future edition of this newsletter or on our website. Please include your name (initials are okay), age, and location. By doing so, you agree that The Atlantic has permission to publish your photo and publicly attribute the response to you, including your first name and last initial, age, and/or location that you share with your submission.

— Isabel

The Atlantic

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